Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Education and Institutions

The Church of England's quaintly-named Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts sponsored the first schools in Halifax, soon after the founding of the community. In 1789, the Halifax Grammar School opened, intended to provide higher education for children of the well-to-do. Over the following decades, various private and church-sponsored schools — all of them requiring the payment of some kind of fees for most pupils — came and went in the city, prior to the Free School Acts of 1864 and 1865. In the latter year, 700 children attended city schools.

Addressing the Halifax City Board of School Commissioners in 1866, Dr. T.H. Rand, the Superintendent of Education, complained that there were still serious problems within the local system:

At present most of the schools in the city are merely miscellaneous gatherings. In the same room may not infrequently be heard the alphabet class and the class in the higher departments of English grammar, the class in Addition and the class in Exchange or Alligation; in short, the pupils throughout the city are not as a whole, pursuing a systematic course of instruction. Every teacher is pursuing his own course. If he prefers geography to grammar, or arithmetic to reading, the pupils under his charge will be found partaking of the same one-sidedness; their scholarship will lack symmetry; it will, in fine, be mere half-work."

The Superintendent concluded with his vision for public education in Halifax: "The system of schools I propose for the city embraces a series of ascending grades, having accommodation for 5,000 pupils or over, at the outset; and a prescribed course of instruction adapted to each step in the series, covering a period of eleven or twelve years." Three years later, some 5,065 students were enrolled in Halifax's 21 public schools.

A combined school and orphanage was started in the city as early as 1750. In subsequent years, various specialized institutions were established throughout the city and surrounding area: St. Joseph's Orphanage, the Home of the Guardian Angel, the Protestant Orphanage, the Halifax Infants' Home, the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, the Halifax Industrial School and St. Patrick's Home. The School for the Deaf was opened on Gottingen Street in 1857 and the School for the Blind on Morris Street began in 1871. Under the leadership of Sir Charles Frederick Fraser from 1873 to 1923, the number of students attending the School for the Blind increased and the facilities were greatly improved. The school and its magnificent gardens occupied an entire city block and remained a landmark until their demolition ca. 1983.

Halifax Regional Municipality currently has a wide variety of post-secondary learning institutions: the Atlantic School of Theology, Dalhousie University and DalTech (formerly the Technical University of Nova Scotia), Mount Saint Vincent University, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, St. Mary's University, The University of King's College, and three Nova Scotia Community College campuses (the Halifax Campus and the Institute of Technology Campus in Halifax and the I.W. Akerley Campus in Dartmouth).


Results 1 to 9 of 9 from your search: Education and Institutions


"Protestant Orphans' Home, North Park Street, Halifax, N.S., May 1874"
Date: May 1874
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-265 no. 5

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"Industrial School, Quinpool Road, Halifax", ca. 1880
Date: ca. 1880
Photographer: W. Chase
Reference no.: United Church of Canada. Committee on Archives Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1975-194 no. 24

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"Halifax Med. College", ca. 1890
Date: ca. 1890
Reference no.: United Church of Canada. Committee on Archives Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1975-194 no. 19

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Students learning sign language, 1893
Date: 1893
Photographer: Gauvin & Gentzel
Reference no.: School for the Hearing Handicapped Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1990-205

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"Grade 1, LeMarchant St. School, 1899, teacher Miss Edith Cunningham"
Date: 1899
Reference no.: Judith Piers Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1980-154

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"Evening Technical Class, Bookkeeping, Halifax, N.S. Instructor standing is Geo. H. Holder, Monday, Feb. 27th, 1911"
Date: 27 February 1911
Photographer: Climo
Reference no.: Jean Holder Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1980-195 no. 17

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Halifax School for the Blind: Girls' Manual Training Class Engaged in Machine Sewing, Chair Caning, Weaving, Basketry, Needlepoint and Knitting, 1921
Date: 1921
Reference no.: Halifax School for the Blind Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-320 no. 16

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"Opening of Colored Orphans' Home, Preston", 6 June 1921
Date: 6 June 1921
Photographer: attributed to Helen Creighton
Reference no.: Helen Creighton Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-178 album 12 no. 26-27

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Kindergarten and Grade One, St. Thomas Aquinas School, Halifax, 15 October 1948
Date: 15 October 1948
Photographer: E.A. Bollinger
Reference no.: E.A. Bollinger Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1975-305 1984 no. 4852-4

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